Friday, February 3, 2023

Just Add Salt

Stranger:  You grow how many pepper plants?

Me: (thinking) Last year I had about... 60.

Stranger: (jaw drops to the ground)  What???

Food or Science Experiment?

It's fascinating what people find strange.  60 pepper plants in one backyard can't be fathomed yet buying and eating ultra-processed foods that slowly kill you is completely normal.  It would seem as though our society has it's priorities backwards, but I digress.  What were we talking about?  Ah yes, the peppers.

Pepper seeds were just planted for the 2023 growing season and I'm currently starting 72 of them.  By the time they germinate and start growing there'll probably be around 60 plants again, maybe more.  What's one to do with all of these peppers?

The possibilities are endless:  Kimchi, dumplings, pickles, egg rolls, tamales, salsa, burritos, freeze some peppers, random hipster contraptions, etc.  Peppers can be used in basically any dish you dream up.  Last year as I was preserving food, I had a different thought.  Salt is what has historically been used to preserve food, what if I just put fresh ingredients in a bunch of salt water in a mason jar in the fridge?

In theory it sounded good so I gave it a whirl.  A smorgasbord of sweet, spicy, and everything in-between whole peppers were added to a small vat of salt water in a jar in the fridge where it has been stewing ever since.  While I was at it, I found myself sitting on literal pounds and pounds of beans (15 lbs amongst various bags in the fridge at one point).  It was only logical that I throw a bunch of beans in their own salt brine hoping for a nice, lip-smacking, winter treat of salty beans.

Five months later, they are good as new!  Well, they're a little bit salty, but that goes without saying.  For the peppers, I just take them out whenever I'm looking for a fresh pepper.  Slice it up, add it to the dish with the resulting taste being as if it were just picked fresh from the garden.  Plus, I don't even have to add salt to the dish!  The beans have been a surprisingly great snack, especially since pickles were not made this year (no cucumbers in 2022).  Just pop the top of the jar, pull some beans out, eat, and prepare to be surprised.

For the easiest way to preserve your freshly grown vegetables from your very own backyard vegetable paradise, just add salt!

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